Album Review: FONTAINES D.C. - Dogrel
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Amidst much hype from BBC
6 Music’s Steve Lamacq and support from label mates IDLES, FONTAINES D.C. have released their debut album on Partisan Records. Dogrel combines the swagger of The Strokes with an Irish ear for melody, deft lyricism and the atmospherics of Joy Division and Sonic Youth.
Grian Chatten’s unabashed and often poetic Dubliner drawl is front and centre in the mix.
The album begins with the bombastic ‘Big’, which comes in at a succinct one minute and 45 seconds. For a five-piece, the band doesn’t sound at all frilly and no part is superfluous. The natal themes on the opening song herald a particularly Irish nativity – “Dublin in the rain is mine/ A pregnant city with a Catholic mind”.
Dogrel ’s most typically punk song with Chatten affecting a Julian Casablancas-style cool vocal delivery. The album’s penultimate track ‘Boys in the Better Land’ is equally driving and features some of the album’s best lyrics including the description of a “face like sin and a heart like a James Joyce novel”. ‘Dublin City Sky’ closes Dogrel with its beautiful folk-inspired balladry telling of a doomed romance with a lover whose face was “rubied up just like no sun I’d ever seen”.
Dogrel is an assured and authentic debut from FONTAINES D.C. that ignores current trends in guitar music to create something genuine and unique. Grian Chatten’s inspired lyrics, strikingly particular to the city of Dublin, are delivered with a conviction impossible to ignore.
Album art 'Dogrel' (2019)FONTAINES D.C.’s first full-length seems like a seminal moment in an era where samey-ness reigns supreme in the guitar world. Instead of the reverb-soaked vocals we’ve grown accustomed to hearing on rock records of late,
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